Defense Secretary Ash Carter is visiting Silicon Valley on Friday to announce the Pentagon is funding a new venture to develop cutting-edge electronics and sensors that can flex and stretch and could be built into clothing or the skins of ships and aircraft.
The high-tech investment could lead to wearable health monitors that could be built into military uniforms or used to assist the elderly. Or it could foster thin, bendable sensors that could be tucked into cracks or crevices on weapons, ships or bridges where bulky wiring could never fit. The sensors could telegraph structural problems or trigger repair alerts.
Under the pla the Pentagon will provide $75 million and industry, academia and other sources will contribute $96 million over five years to a newly created high-tech innovation institute.
The consortium, called the Flexible Hybrid Electronic Institute, will be led by California-based FlexTech Alliance and be made up of 162 companies, universities and other groups.
Carter is visiting Silicon Valley to detail the initiative -- his second trip to the technology hub in four month, as he works to get the Defense Department to increasingly tap into the region's high-tech expertise and workforce.